LONDON: Saudi-owned broadcaster MBC Group announced on Wednesday that it plans to shut its office in Beirut “soon” and relocate to Riyadh.
The company said the reason for the move is a push by authorities in the Kingdom to relocate all state-owned media and broadcasting companies to Saudi Arabia.
While the headquarters of MBC is currently in Dubai, the Lebanon branch was a prominent production office. The company has reportedly offered staff the choice of moving to Riyadh or resigning.
The decision to move the offices of Saudi media companies to Riyadh from other cities in the region, such as Beirut and Dubai, is the result of plans by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to establish the Kingdom as a regional business hub.
News of the move comes a day after George Kordahi, the Lebanese information minister and a former MBC presenter, caused controversy with his comments about Saudi Arabia and the war in Yemen.
When asked during an appearance on Barlamanasha3b TV what he thinks about the situation in Yemen, Kordahi said: “They (the Houthis) are defending themselves.”
He added: “Are they attacking anyone? In my opinion, this Yemeni war is absurd and should stop.”